Shopping, nowadays, has gone from being something done for basic necessities to a form of recreation and is synonymous with fashion. It’s supposed to even alleviate depression, for women anyway. But women can no longer claim exclusive rights to the greatest pastime there is. Men are equally interested in dressing well and looking Sauvé.

The world has a lot of shopping destinations that make the avid shopper salivate; the thought of all these brands and couture are enough to make you want to plunge into the whole experience.

Here are a few cities where shopping is sheer pleasure and you just can’t resist its magnetic pull.

Shop your way through Hong Kong

Hong Kong is considered by many to be the best place for shopping. With malls that let you shop in comfort and skyscrapers wrapped in branded designers, it’s heaven for those who love luxury. Of course, you also get cheaper versions on the kilometre-long stretch of Tung Choi Street, popularly known as the Ladies’ Market.

The best buys in Hong Kong are cosmetics, clothes and electrical appliances. Park Lane Shopper’s Boulevard is much-loved by women for its moderately priced, stylish clothes. Chain stores for cosmetics and factory outlets for clothes can be found at Canton Road, Grenville Road and Beijing Road.

Harbour City, Hong Kong’s largest shopping mall, is renowned for its designer boutiques. Louis Vuitton, Prada, Polo, Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren all jostle for space in this mall which extends from China Hong Kong City in the north to Star Ferry Terminal in the south. Here, you’ll be able to find exclusive accessories for men and women. Everyone agrees that beautiful leather handbags, particularly the ones made in Italy are the high point of fashion and it’s easy to pick up a few classic pieces, right in the middle of Hong Kong.

New York is chic and sophisticated

Home to bustling crowds, the very mention of New York brings to mind Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and other such department stores and landmark boutiques. Of course, New York is also home to the top designers in the world including Versace, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Ralph Lauren. Macy’s has a great selection of leather handbags, if you’re looking for quality stuff. If jewellery is what turns you on, there’s nowhere better than Tiffany and Co.

Areas like Midtown, West Village and Hell’s Kitchen offer great deals on leather goods. Sample sales can be found in certain parts of New York like Soho, where you’ll be able to pick up great bargains. New York definitely deserves the sobriquet of the fashion capital of the world.

Splurge in Milan

In terms of its fashion sense, it’s different from other cities because you’ll see the newest trends, straight from the catwalk, on the streets. All the latest styles are first seen here while the rest of the world lags behind, usually by at least a year.Milan is the grand dame of all things trendy and luxe; a powerhouse of fashion and style. You’ll be hard-pressed to find the quality and style that is evident everywhere, even on a casual stroll through the streets, anywhere else. Quadrilatero d’Oro which means the rectangle of gold, is a square which houses all the designer boutiques.

Apart from clothes, accessories for men and women are very popular here. Milan is famed for its leather accessories, particularly leather handbags with Made in Italy tags. It’s a fashion statement to be seen carrying one of these exclusive pieces.

There’s a huge market for seconds because fashion changes in the blink of an eye and if you keep a sharp look-out, you’ll be able to snag some great pieces for low prices.

London – Timeless Elegance

London is another place that’s always at the forefront of a shopper’s map. If you’re someone who believes in spending on high-end fashion, Mayfair and Bond Street are where you should go. Everywhere you turn, you see fashion biggies like Burberry, Tiffany and Co., Victoria Beckham and Louis Vuitton. If expensive fashion is not your cup of tea, Covent Garden and Regent Street are great. Here, you’ll find the latest in street wear and moderately priced shops, so there’s no lack of choices. Leather goods and accessories are found at great prices at places like Notting Hill and Neal Street.

Of course, the world famous Saville Row is also to be found here and is a must if you’re in the mood for suits hand-made the old-fashioned way, but only if you have deep pockets. Shopping in London is incomplete if Harrods and Harvey Nichols are not visited. Even if you’re not the kind to splash out on expensive clothes or accessories, you have to at least window shop. It’s the ultimate shopping experience!

Classy and Seamless – That’s Paris for You

Parisians have an innate sense of style that’s difficult to emulate. They dress with flair and panache, managing to make it look effortless. Paris has room for all kinds of shoppers, bargain hunters to designer lovers. The fashion district here is sprawling and Avenue des Champs Elysées and the Faubourg Saint-Honoré are the focal point of Paris design and fashion. Classic designers like Versace, Yves Saint Laurent and Hermes have all made themselves at home here. Alongside these, you’ll also find trendy stores like Colette. The Palais Royal has a string of upscale boutiques and vintage shops with everything from jewellery to art.

Department stores like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps on Boulevard Haussmann have created a niche for themselves, among the well-known names.Galerie Vivienne boasts of old books and toy shops with luxury designer boutiques like Jean-Paul Gaultier.

The flea markets in Paris are equally famous and yield some great finds in the form of antique furniture and vintage clothes.The Saint-Ouen flea market, the largest, is located at the northern tip of Paris and goes as far back as the 19th century. With so many varieties, the average shopper is spoilt for choice.

Shoppers in these cities are forgiven for thinking that they are in paradise, so varied and magnificent are the collections here. All-in-all, a shopaholic’s dream!